It felt like a screwdriver was twisting through my temples. Not just one temple. This invisible screwdriver went though both ends of my skull and seemed to have the ability to dig in above my eyes as well, into the area beneath my eyebrows. My in-laws were visiting from Ohio, and up until that point, it was a fantastic time. But the pain struck fast, and it struck hard.
It was confusing because for so long, I never dealt with any type of headaches. But over the past few years, they have crept in with more regularity. Even so, this was different. The pain was unbearable. It was one of those headaches that makes you wonder how people that deal with consistent migraines even make it. Either I’ve become soft and a big baby or this really was a pain that was hard to content with.
I stumbled off into another room, trying desperately to get away from any and all noises. The only sound I craved was the sound of silence. What was astonishing was the level of sensitivity in my brain from this mental intruder. I can spend hours in this room, working away with all sorts of noises from the outside, including the loud impression that Dylan makes of a garbage truck. None of it slows me down for a moment. But when this type of headache moves in, every noise is like a needle shooting through my skull. The worst, oddly enough, is someone doing the dishes. The clanking, banging and sorting is my modern version of chinese water torture.
The pain lasted a few days. Everything was still sensitive, and the agony seemed to enter directly through my eyes. Were my eyes giving out? Are my contacts failing me? Is something psychologically wrong with me? All of those thoughts entered my pounding head.
What I didn’t consider was Computer Vision Syndrome. Computer vision what, you ask? Yeah, I asked the same thing. I’d never heard of it before. But you search for odd things when your head feels like it is in the crosshairs in a war between two armies.
Apparently, a more common term for this is digital eye strain. Ahhhh. Okay. I’m listening. My temples are pounding, but I’m listening. Your eyes are always working. But did you know that your eyes work harder when you are looking at a screen? I didn’t. I also didn;t know that letters on a digital screen are more challenging for our eyes to read compared to the printed page because the letters are not as defined, they aren’t as sharp and the glare and reflections from the screen makes it more challenging for our eyes.
If you add in any previous eye problems that you already have, that will increase any discomfort that you will feel. This was all sounding uncomfortably accurate. As I laid there in an awkward position, I also learned that looking at a screen in an awkward position can lead to pain in the shoulder, back and neck, the ladder which can also contribute to the worsening of a headache.
Why didn’t anyone tell me about this? Or did they, but I was distracted while on a screen?
Either way, this wasn’t something I could ignore any longer. As I sat there feeling like death warmed over, I had to change something. Not only was it affecting my work, because if being on a screen causes pain, I obviously had to do less. But it was now barging into my family time. I would finish work many days, excited to be with Elizabeth and the boys. But the noise became so unbearable that I then needed to go on my own for quiet.
This was not the life of freedom that we were striving for.
As is always the case with growth, great pain comes with valuable solutions. As amazing as all of this technology is- tech that affords us the option to create businesses from anywhere, connect instantaneously across the globe and have virtually anything we want in a short time delivered right to us- it comes with some fairly major pitfalls. We will discuss isolation and sleep issues in the next two episodes, but the physical detriment to our eyes, our brains and our systems is a realy thing.
And like any new invention that begins with almost all positives with little discussion on the downsides, we are reaching a maturity level here where a major disruption like Computer Vision Syndrome needs to be examined. Examined by healthy, well rested eyes.
So whether you have experienced what it feels like to be dying a painful death through your head or you can see how this really can add up to possibly take you there, taking preventative measures to ward off The Angel Of (Head) Death should be as common as “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” adage from a half century ago.
Some simple action steps that you can take immediately.
1- Utilize the 20-20-20 Rule that we discussed in yesterday's episode.
2- Keep your computer screen 15-20 degrees lower than your eyes
3- Utilize blue light coatings, tints or glasses to reduce the amount of blue light that your body sees.
4- Use the Pomodoro Technique, which is focused work for forty two to forty five minutes and then taking a fifteen to eighteen minute break away from all screens.
5- When taking a break, get outside, get movement and get sunshine. Not only will that improve your physical health and mental health, but it will also make you more creative, productive and happy with your work.
Tomorrow, we will discuss another health issue that is increasingly prevalent in the world of entrepreneurship and the solopreneurs of the world- The Land of Isolation.